New ‘Star Wars’ Project Features More LGBTQIA+ Representation, Pushes Franchise Forward

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Animated depiction of a "Star Wars" character with an elaborate hairstyle, standing in front of a blazing fire with a weapon in hand, emblematic of franchise forward storytelling and LGBTQ+ representation.

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

The latest Star Wars release continues to push the franchise into a more inclusive space by introducing a new non-binary character.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire premiered on Disney+ over the weekend to mark Star Wars Day. The new animated anthology series focuses on Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger) and Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) during the Imperial Era and has generated generally positive reviews from fans.

Logo of "Star Wars: Tales of the Empire" featuring stylized metallic text with a glowing outline on a black background, incorporating elements inspired by General Grievous.
Credit: Lucasfilm

While it may serve as a standalone story within the Star Wars universe, one way that Star Wars: Tales of the Empire does play into the overarching continuity of the franchise is by continuing to promote greater inclusivity in a galaxy far, far away.

One character – a rogue Jedi featured in Star Wars: Tales of the Empire‘s fifth episode, “Realization,” who clashes with the Inquisitor prior to their death – is portrayed as non-binary, with two characters referring to the Jedi as “they” and “them.”

Tales of the Empire ep 5: Realization

Meet the unnamed nonbinary Jedi voiced by @VoiceOfRYeason! You love to see it.

The Inquisitor: “They’re still alive. We need to get them to the ship. We can save them.”

The Fourth Sister: “Forget it. Let them die. It’s not worth the trouble.”

The Inquisitor: “They were about to surrender.”

Lucasfilm has arguably been much more willing to integrate LGBTQIA+ characters into its projects than its parent company, The Walt Disney Company – which has claimed on multiple occasions to debut its first LGBTQIA+ character in Beauty and the Beast (2017), then Onward (2020), then Jungle Cruise (2021) – in the past.

Another animated series, Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures, features a character who uses “they” pronouns. The show’s main character, Kai, meets a rival named Djovi Resmia, who is voiced by Valeria Rodriguez (who uses “he,” “she,” and “they” pronouns).

An animated child wielding a Lightsaber.
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: New Marvel Project Will Make Character Non-Binary, Boost Diversity, Report Claims

Meanwhile, Lucasfilm debuted an exclusive cover of the “Star Wars: The High Republic” comic book series featuring two transgender non-binary Jedi (Terec and Ceret) in 2021.

“In honor of #TransDayOfVisibility, we’re proud to unveil an exclusive cover highlighting Terec and Ceret, trans-non-binary Jedi, currently featured in Marvel’s The High Republic comic,” Lucasfilm wrote on Instagram. “We support trans lives, and we are passionate and committed to broadening our representation in a galaxy far, far way.”

In honor of #TransDayOfVisibility we’re proud to unveil an exclusive cover highlighting Terec and Ceret, trans non-binary Jedi, currently featured in Marvel’s The High Republic comic. #TDOV @starwars

Going even further back, two trans-non-binary characters – pirate Eleodie Maracavanya and Alderaanian pilot (and aspiring scoundrel) Taka Jamoreesa – were introduced in tie-in Star Wars novels in 2016 and 2018.

One area where the Star Wars franchise is yet to tackle its LGBTQIA+ inclusivity is the big screen. While Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (2019) director J.J. Abrams previously hyped the film’s representation, he was later widely mocked when the end result was two female background characters kissing for less than a second.

Characters from Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Trans Community Against ‘Star Wars’ Ahsoka

Fans were also notably disappointed by a romantic relationship between Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) never coming to fruition in the sequel trilogy, despite Isaac himself openly shipping the pairing.

“Personally, I kind of hoped and wished that maybe that would’ve been taken further in the other films, but I don’t have control,” Isaac told Variety in the same month that Rise of Skywalker hit theaters. “It seemed like a natural progression, but sadly enough, it’s a time when people are too afraid, I think, of … I don’t know what.”

Two men, one in a stormtrooper outfit and the other in a brown jacket, appear engaged in an intense conversation inside a Star Wars spaceship corridor.
Credit: Lucasfilm

Boyega also noted that it wouldn’t have been totally out of the blue if the sequels had decided to pursue a Finn and Poe romance. “They’ve always had a quite loving and open relationship in which it wouldn’t be too weird if it went beyond it,” Boyega said. “But at the same time, they are just platonic at the moment.”

Regardless, Abrams dashed the idea (in the same interview that he promised representation). “That relationship to me is a far deeper one than a romantic one,” he explained. “It is a deep bond that these two have, not just because of the trial by fire in which they met, but also because of their willingness to be as intimate as they are, as afraid as they, as unsure as they are, and still be bold, and still be daring and brave.”

Do you think the Star Wars franchise does a good job with representation? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments!

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